So, your wish list has like a gazillion things on it, how often to fans send you gifts and support?
I actually am a chronic online window shopper. If I received everything on my wishlist, I’d have nowhere to put it. After years of adding things and saving them for the future it’s become an overbearing beast. I have never received anything off of one of my wishlists, but I’m very content with that. If I do ever receive anything, I know my Christmas donations would be much greater. It’s really for friends and family that I exchange gifts with.
I have received fan art, which has definitely been way more meaningful. I’m always flattered, and it was amazing to know that someone took time out of their busy lives to make something for me. I’m eternally grateful to all of those individuals.
I did have a couple of people ask me to put up my wish lists so I did, and I tried my best to bury it deep down in my about section on my page. If you look at it I actually have more than one wish list. I have one for cosplay items I plan on purchasing in the future and a generic one. I originally made the generic one because my mom was tired of asking me what I wanted for my birthday and Christmas, and now I find it funny because she gets mad at me because there is so much on it.
I do have a career and it funds my cosplay, and I do feel that in life I’m better off financially than most. The biggest honor to me would be instead of someone buying me something off of my wish list is to spend that money as a donation to a charity in my name. I grew up in a very low-income situation, so I’m an avid supporter of giving to the less fortunate.
How important is fitness in your life, and for cosplay?
Most people don’t know this, but I had a history of being very sick all the time. I’d be hospitalized multiple times a year.
Once I graduated and started my career, I decided enough was enough and that I was going to get my body in tip-top shape. I’m very proud to say that I have lost 50lbs in a solid year of work. I definitely feel better physically and mentally about myself.
Fitness is very important to me. It’s a must, almost like breathing. We all know the benefits of working out and being healthy and I do try to emulate that across my life and cosplay.
How has bullying and sexual harassment affected the cosplay community?
Just like it has life. There are always be people who will be mean, and there unfortunately are people who just do not respect individuals. It’s definitely a big talking point, because within our community we have a massive online influence. As our community grows online and offline people have become more vocal digitally and in person as to their opinions.
I feel that I should live up to my own standards. I should do what makes me happy, and care only about the opinions of those I’m emotionally invested in. Some stranger on the internet has practically no influence to me because we do not have a personal relationship. People will take things I say and do and interpret them any way they feel. I have no control over that and I accept it. There’s no point in trying to change their mind, so why should I let it change mine?
I feel we are each responsible for our own happiness. We shouldn’t depend on others to change our mindset for us. Having a positive attitude goes a long way. Life is already too short to deal with negativity.
As a member of this community I like to remind others that all we have is each other. Treating each other with respect and paying it forward goes a long way in fighting against bullying and sexual harassment in this community. Being aware, standing up for each other, and having no tolerance to this sort of negativity will help this community grow in a positive light.
How do you deal with misbehaved fans?
People can generally say what they want, I’m not one to stop anyone from being themselves. If they want to be trolls or expresses themselves in an embarrassing manner that’s fine. I think it brings awareness to others in a way. There are cases when people go too far, and they get blocked. I do have a younger audience as well as an older and will not stand for anything obscene on my page.
Do you think cosplayers can go too far in regards to “sexy” cosplays?
I’m not one to be phased by anything. I think the human body is a beautiful art form and I am very accepting of it. I do not have any deep conservative values, but I understand that there are many in our society.
That said, I think the individuals who are going to do something controversial should be ready and willing to accept the harsh negative criticism that comes with the territory. It’s not fair, but sadly that’s just how things are. Hopefully our society will grow in a more accepting community, but for the time being, those who do must be prepared.
Really it comes down to, “Who am I to criticize anyone’s way of life?” And if something makes you happy, you should do it and express yourself.
What have been your top three moments in cosplay?
First, would have to be my first time cosplaying.
It all started back in 2006: my friends were doing a One Piece cosplay group for Metrocon, and they asked me to join. Chopper, being the adorable companion he is, was an instant choice. I didn’t really understand what cosplaying was, but after experiencing it, I fell in love.
Here I was, surrounded by like-minded people – people who loved the same things I did. It was so easy to just walk up and start a conversation with anyone; being an extrovert, I loved it. Before college, I knew only a few people who shared the same interests as me, and even in college, I still had a small group. It was the first time I was really surrounded by thousands of my fellow nerds, geeks and freaks.
I felt welcomed instantly, more so than anywhere else in my life. No one judged me or called me names. If anything, I got tennis elbow from the multitude of high fives. 😀 It didn’t matter if I was a woman, a cosplayer, a gamer, an anime enthusiast – all that mattered was that I was accepted for me; there was no one questioning me or what I did. As a result, cosplay has turned into my personal safe haven for everything I hold dear and cherish.
So I ask you, “How could someone not fall in love so quickly?”
My second was getting rushed by a bunch of little girls dressed as My Little Pony Ponies. I was dressed as Rainbow Dash, and their excitement at my outfit was just overwhelming. I still get fuzzy thinking about it. :3
Third would have to be winning with my Punch Out Group at Supercon. We arranged a skit and put our best foot forward. We paid homage to our love of the game, and in turn won Best Animated Group. To get on stage after working so hard on something together and then winning with my friends was the best feeling.
What inspired the Little Mac cosplay?
I loved Punch Out when I was a little kid, and when he was announced for the new Super Smash Brother’s game, I just knew I had to make him.
Gaming! Spending hours upon hours upon hours just living different lives and stories. I find it to be the great escape from the daily grind. It’s just like getting lost in a good book.
Lastly, being a Meteorologist. 😀 It is my day job and dream job. I get to spend hours daily obsessing over the latest model guidance and the rapidly changing flux of the atmosphere. Plus, I have to be an expert in my field because in an active warning situation, lives are on the line and it’s my duty to get warnings out as quickly as possible. I also get to give back to the community and do outreach events at local schools and other public outlets, and educate my local community about weather.
Have you ever had an epic costume malfunction at a con?
Really only once I can think of. Someone at a con slammed into me hard as Rainbow Dash and knocked me down. In the process, they ripped off the stars off of my boots, my wings, and one of my ears. About 20 minutes later I realized I was missing an ear. I was upset, but I got through it, and finished the day on a high note.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at a convention? (We’re hoping it’s not your wardrobe malfunction)
Well if we are talking jaw dropping I saw someone hit a cosplayer with a car. They were a bit under the influence that night and stumbled into traffic. By the time I yelled, “Wait…!” It was too late. They were rushed to a hospital, but they seemed okay and were much sober by the time the ambulance got there.
We’re casting a play for your life up to this point, who plays you and what’s the play called?
Jennifer Lawrence in Awkward.
Glomp, I’d like to thank you for having me! And as someone trying to break into this industry, I truly appreciate any and all the help I can get. I’m truly humbled by this chance. One of my personal goals is to paint this community in the most positive light. I enjoyed this opportunity to share my passion and experiences with you and your readers. Thank you for your time!
Leaping Lizard is a gem, plain and simple. Not only is she an accomplished cosplayer, but her personal journey is one to be respected. She is truly a bright light in the cosplay community, giving every inch of knowledge to people who want to learn and progress in a positive way.